Low vs mid vs high priced DACs? - AVS Forum
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I currently own what would be considered an entry-level DAC made by a local company. I compared it with the similarly priced Arcam rDAC and the former won by a small margin, I'd say that it was a matter of preference which one was better - better focus but narrower sound stage and a bit more presence. otherwise I'd say they were identical.
while I had the luck to listed to few high-end systems in the past, what I always missed were actual comparisons ("let's try this amp now and see what it does to the sound").
I know what even a $150 DAC can do to the sound compared to lesser sources (enough to quality as a "WOW" kind of difference) and since I believe that sound can be textually described to a point, I was wondering what kind of differences the higher priced DACs bring.
real, first-hand experience and examples would be much appreciated, thanks.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:06 PM
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You're dreaming. In a fair comparison, you couldn't tell two DACs apart if your life depended on it.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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Old 11-10-2012, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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is that based on first-hand experience? if so, what DACs have you compared and were the accompanying components good enough to reveal the differences?
my experience tells me the absolute opposite. actually, instantly switching back and forth from one DAC to another (both feeding from the same input) by using the remote while sitting on the sofa helped me understand how big the differences (sometimes) are. maybe without the opportunity of remote instant switching the differences are not that obvious but I'm sure that they have an impact with prolonged listening.
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:39 PM
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is that based on first-hand experience?
No, that's based on understanding the scientific principles underlying audio.
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my experience tells me the absolute opposite.
One of those scientific principles is that, in audio, personal experience can be very, very misleading.
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instantly switching back and forth from one DAC to another (both feeding from the same input)
Good start. Now, do it with the DACs' output levels matched exactly, and try it without knowing which DAC is which.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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Old 11-10-2012, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Good start. Now, do it with the DACs' output levels matched exactly, and try it without knowing which DAC is which.
the outputs were matched, I know about Fletcher-Munson, thank you. all the comparisons I do are level matched. the switching was done by the friend who owned the system, he never told me which is which and then he handed me the remote so I can switch myself.

I find it absolutely incredible that someone who wasn't there is telling me what I was hearing. since the switching was instantaneous and required no pausing of the song or moving from the listening position, I was simply shocked to hear that switching from one DAC to the other caused the instruments to move inside the room. for instance, the piano on one song became clearly placed about meter to the left of the left speaker, while with the other DAC all instruments seemed to emanate sound from about everywhere between the speakers, the positioning was simply vague. also, on loud passages the sound resembled noise more than music.
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:13 AM
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^^^

you have a healthy imagination, which is not uncommon...

fundamentally, what you are telling us is, well, not in line with reality...

- chris

 

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Old 11-11-2012, 07:38 AM
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the outputs were matched
How did you measure their levels, and what device did you use to match them?
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I find it absolutely incredible that someone who wasn't there is telling me what I was hearing.
That's how science works. We develop generalizable principles that can be applied even in unfamiliar situations. That's why I don't have to know you personally to know that you cannot hear 25 kHz sounds, and that you are subject to various sorts of masking. It's also why I don't need to listen to your DACs to know that, if they are properly level-matched, they cannot do what you are claiming that they do.
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I was simply shocked to hear that switching from one DAC to the other caused the instruments to move inside the room.
You should be shocked. What you're claiming is impossible, assuming the DACs were properly level-matched in both channels.

Here's another basic rule of science: If you get an unexpected result, it usually means you screwed up the experiment. I wasn't there, so I can't be sure how you screwed it up. But I'm quite sure you did.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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Old 11-11-2012, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

^^^
you have a healthy imagination, which is not uncommon...
fundamentally, what you are telling us is, well, not in line with reality...
looks like you found your soul mate.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:16 AM
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nice guess, but wrong...

you'll find the great majority of avs posters would be "objectivists"... it's the big reason this site has credibility... stop and think for a minute about what would have to be happening in the dac for your claim to have merit...

if you object to that, there are many other sites that are likely to reinforce what you would lime to hear...

sorry if you don't like that...

- chris

 

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Old 11-11-2012, 08:29 AM
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+1
If you want real improvement than get better speakers and/or treat your room. For the dogmatic subjectivist I can only say you are suffering from the placebo effect.
.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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+1
For the dogmatic subjectivist I can only say you are suffering from the placebo effect.
.
you remind me of the many cases when a person feeling ill went to the doctor who said "you're totally ok", only to find few doctors later that he/she had a terminal illness. I guess they call those "dogmatic patients".
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by gn77b View Post

the outputs were matched, I know about Fletcher-Munson, thank you. all the comparisons I do are level matched. the switching was done by the friend who owned the system, he never told me which is which and then he handed me the remote so I can switch myself.
gn77b, just like your "test" report, others have posted their "test" reports online. What I see is that yours is in conflict with others who have done level matched double blind comparison. Their experiences tell the absolute opposite of yours. What would you tell them?
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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gn77b, just like your "test" report, others have posted their "test" reports online. What I see is that yours is in conflict with others who have done level matched double blind comparison. Their experiences tell the absolute opposite of yours. What would you tell them?
I'd tell them that most likely the test conditions were inadequate to say the least. I myself have stated in a previous post that if the switching required pausing the song and moving from the listening position the differences would have seemed less than obvious. if only you tried to understand the importance of this phrase.

also, I'm not new to the fact that the so called objectivists choose to simply ignore that blind tests have their problems. problems that have been pointed many times.

but it's ok, people are like that. accepting reality is a completely personal process and it can't be enforced. and it's generally slow and painful.

it amazes me that you consider all subjectivists to be extremists but you in fact are just as them. you're just like the guy who believes in 20k cables, only that you don't realize it.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:56 AM
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if the switching required pausing the song and moving from the listening position the differences would have seemed less than obvious.
Agreed. That would have made it harder to hear differences, if there had been differences to be heard. But there have been numerous tests published in which this condition was met. Try again, Charlie.
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also, I'm not new to the fact that the so called objectivists choose to simply ignore that blind tests have their problems. problems that have been pointed many times.
Wait. You insisted earlier that your test was blind ("he never told me which is which and then he handed me the remote so I can switch myself"). Now you're arguing that blind tests have problems. Make up your mind.

And yes, many people have pointed out the "problems" with blind tests. But there's never any there there. The objections are no more factual than your assertion that other tests didn't use quick switching.
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it amazes me that you consider all subjectivists to be extremists
They aren't extremists. They're nitwits. There's a difference.
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you're just like the guy who believes in 20k cables, only that you don't realize it.
That's right. The people who correlate objective listening tests with measurements are exactly like the audiophiles pulling opinions out of their posteriors.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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Old 11-11-2012, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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I see no point in continuing this.
last thing I'll tell you. it is my personal experience that most objectivists are people who simply can't afford a good system. it is a cold fact of life: them being so vocal about their objectivism is something coming from deep frustration.
I'm outta here, I wish you many occasions to troll other people's threads so you can up your post count.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:28 AM
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it is my personal experience that most objectivists are people who simply can't afford a good system.
You should get out of the house more. The world is a bigger, more varied place than you know.
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them being so vocal about their objectivism is something coming from deep frustration.
My only frustration is that we keep having to disprove the same creation science every time a new fundie shows up.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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Old 11-11-2012, 11:28 AM
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When all else fails throw out the class warfare card.rolleyes.gif

I don't need snobs to tell me how to think, thank you!
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:06 PM
 
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I'd tell them that most likely the test conditions were inadequate to say the least.
I haven't posted any details about those test conditions and you make a judgement based on what you've never seen or heard? I find it absolutely incredible that someone who wasn't there is telling me what they had or not. rolleyes.gif
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I myself have stated in a previous post that if the switching required pausing the song and moving from the listening position the differences would have seemed less than obvious. if only you tried to understand the importance of this phrase.
Before I judge your test, I would like to ask you for some details on the level matching you claim to have done. To what decibel accuracy did you match and what device did you use for doing it?
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by gn77b View Post

I see no point in continuing this.
last thing I'll tell you. it is my personal experience that most objectivists are people who simply can't afford a good system. it is a cold fact of life: them being so vocal about their objectivism is something coming from deep frustration.
I'm outta here, I wish you many occasions to troll other people's threads so you can up your post count.

nice try, but no... rolleyes.gif

you asked the question... don't shoot the messenger...

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my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

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Old 11-12-2012, 05:47 AM
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I guess it's fortunate that "we" don't have "golden ears" as it saves "us" a lot of money. I've heard many different amps in my time and they all sounded the same while differences in speakers made a world of difference in the quality of sound.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:15 AM
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^^^

yup...

of course, that money that was "saved" is then spent on other toys... biggrin.gif

- chris

 

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Old 11-12-2012, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by gn77b View Post

I see no point in continuing this.
last thing I'll tell you. it is my personal experience that most objectivists are people who simply can't afford a good system. it is a cold fact of life: them being so vocal about their objectivism is something coming from deep frustration.
I'm outta here, I wish you many occasions to troll other people's threads so you can up your post count.

How did I know it would eventually come down to "people who simply can't afford a good system". Ah well, when facts are absent...

Bill Gates must be able to differentiate DACs by smell, let alone using his ears. rolleyes.gif
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:49 PM
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^^^

especially since everyone who commented in this thread likely has a superior system than the op... tongue.gif

- chris

 

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Old 11-12-2012, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

^^^
especially since everyone who commented in this thread likely has a superior system than the op... tongue.gif

Well I certainly seem to have a better DAC tongue.gif

My point being, nothing wrong with buying gear so long as you understand what it delivers or not. My headphone rig has placebo by the bucket full, but I made the purchases with relatively full awareness of what I would or wouldn't get from the investment. Cool toys though!
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:00 PM
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^^^

yea but those glowing tubes are cool... tongue.gif

swmbo still wants one of those...

- chris

 

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Old 11-12-2012, 01:20 PM
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I went all active crossovers for my DIY speakers not because I had loads of data from testing but because I wanted to and it was fun. The DAC/ADC in the miniDSPs is 24 bit/48kHz so I will not hear any differences between higher sampling rates unless it is with headphones. I ended up with my favorite speakers so far. I am a skeptic as far as the sound of DACs. Any differences in DACs, amps, etc. pale in comparison to the differences between speakers.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Theresa View Post

I went all active crossovers for my DIY speakers not because I had loads of data from testing but because I wanted to and it was fun. The DAC/ADC in the miniDSPs is 24 bit/48kHz so I will not hear any differences between higher sampling rates unless it is with headphones. I ended up with my favorite speakers so far. I am a skeptic as far as the sound of DACs. Any differences in DACs, amps, etc. pale in comparison to the differences between speakers.

Especially when they are slapped together in a garage. eek.gifsmile.gif

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Old 11-12-2012, 01:39 PM
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LOL I don't even have a garage. Slapped together doesn't exactly describe the process. I'm not even a carpenter. I bought ready made cabinets and paid someone to cut the baffles. It was fun and I continue to enjoy listening to them. I don't know how I got into such a "manly" hobby, it doesn't fit my persona.
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm not sure "funny" does justice to the feeling that describes watching a bunch of people trying to convince themselves that their blatantly false creeds are the absolute truth.
I really think you should all meet and make out.

look, I really want to thank you and I'm not joking. you made me understand where you're coming from and what sections to avoid. thanks a bunch, really.

keep enjoying your small universe and don't refrain from posting, I may eventually have a bad day and need a comic relief.
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:34 PM
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^^^

amazing how the data resides on the side of the "blatantly false"...

provide evidence... we will be waiting for you... but not holding our breath...

hint: if "we" wanted (or thought it would be effective) a multi-thousand dollar dac, "we" would own one... click on the link in my sig if you doubt that...

sorry... i've known bfreedma for awhile, and although he's a good looking guy, he's not my type... tongue.gif

- chris

 

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